EMUC16 grants awards to promising research

26 November 2016

Four awardees were honoured for their promising research at the 8th European Multidisciplinary Meeting on Urological Cancers (EMUC16) in Milan. Awards were granted to the Best in Oral Presentation, and to the top three of the Best Unmoderated Posters.

Best in Oral Presentation
Prof.  G. Sonpavde of the University of Alabama at Birmingham was awarded the Best in Oral Presentation for his research “Circulating tumor (ct)-DNA profiling for potentially actionable targets in prostate cancer”. Sonpavde’s work was selected from the top six abstracts. Chairs medical oncologist Prof. A. Necchi (IT) and urologist Prof. M. Wirth (DE) handed Sonpavde the award.

Sonpavde expressed that the significance of his research is the non-invasive means of profiling tumour tissue. “You look at the ctDNA alterations peripherally in the blood so that you can serially do it in patients. You can potentially select patients for the right agent based on the alteration without an invasive biopsy. I think we can learn a lot about the biology of the disease, the emerging mechanisms of resistance and new therapeutic targets. So this has a lot of potential,” said Sonpavde.

Sonpavde states that this research is just the first step. “We want to see the correlation of the alterations in the DNA with outcomes, like survival, time to progression. We also want to look at the activity of the drugs given to inhibit the alterations found. There is a long way to go to fully develop this modality,” explained Sonpavde.

The inception of this research stemmed Sonpavde’s interest in therapeutic new drug development based on the discovery of new therapeutic targets. He further explained, “I’m also interested in improving the prognostic classification of patients adding molecular alterations to the clinical prognostic models. Both interests and goals can be achieved by using ctDNA profiling non-invasively. I think this has a lot of potential as oppose to biopsying metastatic tumour, which is very difficult and invasive,” Sonpavde stated.

Best Unmoderated Posters
Chairs Prof. S.D. Brookman-May, DE and Prof. A. Briganti (IT) handed out the top three awards for the Best Unmoderated Posters. The awardees are as follows:

First place:
Prof. G. van Leenders (Erasmus University Medical Center  in Rotterdam, Netherlands)
“Prostate cancer outcomes of men with biopsy Gleason score 6 and 7 without cribriform or intraductal carcinoma”

Second place:
Dr. S. Feyerabend (Study Practice Urologie in Nuertingen, Germany)
“Prospective, non-interventional study on the influence of adherence measures on abiraterone acetate plaus prednisone/prednisolone therapy of patients with metastatic, castration-resistant prostate carcinoma (IMPACT)”

Third place:
Prof. A. Alberts (Erasmus University Medical Center  in Rotterdam, Netherlands)
“Multivariable risk-based patient selection for targeted prostate biopsy in case of suspicious Magenetic Resonance Imaging could reduce unnecessary biopsy procedures”


[From left to right] Brookman-May (on behalf of Feyerabend), van Leenders, Alberts and Briganti

Urologic pathologist Prof.  van Leenders stated that his research shows evidence that Gleason score 3 +4 = 7 prostate-cancer patients without certain growth patterns referred to as “cribiform growth” have better outcome than patients with this growth pattern. “We think that patients without cribiform growth might be more eligible for active surveillance. And pathologists are easily able to identify this pattern,” said van Leenders.

When asked the inspiration behind his research, van Leenders discloses “I was always fascinated by the heterogeneity of the Gleason score 7 patients but was shocked by the interobserver variability of pathologists in diagnosing Gleason Score 7 prostate cancer. However if you start looking and studying the individual growth patterns behind Gleason score 7, things are making more sense.

“My fascination about it is that I’m now starting to understand what I really see through the microscope from a biological and clinical point of view. There is plenty of information that is yet to be discovered. I truly think this will change healthcare.”